KRS-ONE. 16.2.17. Newcastle Riverside.

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Kris Parker burst onto early foundations of gangsta rap with late 80’s album ‘Criminal Minded’, itself a record so strong and so powerful that you knew he was never going to let time fade him into the background.

Shortly after the record dropped, KRS’s DJ and collaborator Scott la Rock was shot dead, an act so impactful that it radically changed the content of KRS’s message. Out went the police agitation and urban aggressor Chuck D/ NWA style messages and in came a totally original style of rap which raised political and social themes.  As a result KRS developed a reputation as being the ‘master preacher’, a tag line which he has spent the remainder of his career living up to.

30 years after Criminal Mind, KRS uses his live show as a vehicle to demonstrate that he is still the grandmaster of meaningful hip hop.  With just himself and his dj (son) Predator Prime, KRS delivers a show that grabs your attention and showcases his extraordinary skills.  Arranging the night in real-time, tracks are started and stopped on a whim and Prime needs all of his skills just to keep up with KRS’s speed of thought.  Both do a great job of keeping the show energising and structured whilst leaving plenty of space for free-style.

New tracks from his soon to be released album demonstrate exactly where KRS’s head is, with themes about the American state, American people and the new commander in chief.  Sounding informative and insightful, it already sounds like it will maintain KRS’s preacher status.

For live hip hop, there is no one better.

As a footnote, quick shout out to KRS’ stage hand who stood and threw out about 100 signed tennis balls during the show in a pantomime-meets-Wimbledon side-show.  Brilliant.

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